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Verizon, Redbox Shut Down Netflix Killer No One Wanted

Redbox Instant is shutting down "because it was not as successful as we hoped it would be."

Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

A couple of years ago, the notion that Verizon and Redbox could come up with a video service that could take on Netflix seemed plausible.

Then we saw what the two companies were offering: A service that give users access to an uninspiring catalog of online video, and the ability to rent some DVDs as well.

Result: “The service is shutting down because it was not as successful as we hoped it would be.”

That’s from a Web post announcing that “Redbox Instant by Verizon” is going dark next Tuesday. Give these guys points for clarity and concision, at least.

If you’re counting, this is the second big “Netflix-killer” to die without killing Netflix. (What’s that? You don’t remember Dish’s Blockbuster streaming service? Exactly.)

But Verizon is not done playing around with video services. Earlier this year Verizon bought Intel’s never-launched Web TV business, and while it doesn’t look like it’s going to try launching that one itself, it is planning some sort of video service that it plans on delivering via phones and other mobile devices. Last week Verizon announced it had secured programming rights from Viacom, and promised to say more soon.

Meanwhile both Sony and Dish Network say they plan on launching their own Web TV services this year; Sony has also announced a Viacom deal, while Dish has signed up Disney/ESPN, A&E, and Scripps.

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